Review of “The Lying Game”

“At least she had a clear picture of what the Lying Game was now: Girl Scouts for psychopaths.”

Emma has lived in foster homes her whole life, but when she finds a video online that depicts a girl who looks exactly like her being killed, she searches for her long-lost twin. After seemingly being lured to Tucson by her twin, Sutton Mercer, Emma finds out that she got the raw end of the deal. Sutton grew up with everything a girl could ask for: parents, a sister, popular friends, a boyfriend, and anything monetary her heart desired. Except Sutton is dead, so Emma assumes Sutton’s identity. When Emma tries to explain what is going on no one believes her. No one, that is, but Sutton’s killer. In order to keep herself from being the next, dead sister, Emma has to play along with The Lying Game until she can solve the mystery of what happened to Sutton.
First off, before anyone starts harassing me over a review (seriously, that is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of – book bloggers shouldn’t have to deal with that stuff!) I seriously love Sara Shepard.  I read the first four books of Pretty Little Liars (which I still need to review here) and I was hooked immediately. When I picked this book up, I was really intrigued by the first page, so I was excited to begin reading it. However, like some of the other reviews I’ve read, I just didn’t get into it as much as I did with PLL.
Some people said they didn’t like the point of view that went between Emma in third person to Sutton in first person. I understood that Shepard was trying something new and that was fine but, I agree, I don’t think it did much for the story. If there had been small chapters here and there told in Sutton’s point of view (as does A. in PLL) we would have gotten the gist that Sutton is dead and she’s watching all of this as a ghost.
While the story line sounds innovative and interesting in theory, it just wasn’t. I got really bored of it quickly. It picked up in the middle when Emma was starting to figure things out and the killer had come back to threaten her. But there was just too much that I couldn’t believe about the whole situation to make me like any of the characters.
I agree with whomever said “Why couldn’t Emma just call someone from her hometown who would vouch for her?” I mean, technically, she is still not 18 so she’s under child protective custody until her birthday at the end of the book. Also, if Emma has been dirt poor and without a world of privilege, wouldn’t she be way more impressed with the gadgets and designer clothes she has? Plus, and I mentioned this on Twitter, how does she know to go to Trader Joe’s to buy Brie? And why would she be irritated with an old woman who holds up the line by paying with a check? If she’s getting into her diva role now that she’s assumed Sutton’s identity, I get that, but she wouldn’t just know these kind of things off-hand if she’s been in poverty the last 15+ years.
And Becky. So that’s their mother but Sutton never knew her but Emma lived with her? I guess that’s part of the mystery too.
One other small thing: Sutton? Is this a hip thing, to name kids after random London boroughs? I kept wanting to call her Mutton Surfer. I get that she’s a spoiled little rich girl who loves to pull deadly pranks on people. She gets her car impounded and she has a police record but she’s still living a charmed life. I can almost understand that but I’m not rich and I don’t shop for Brie at Trader Joe’s so I’m not sure.
Anyway, I doubt I’ll read anymore of the books, but I didn’t realize they’d made a TV show for it, so I can look for that next month.
All in all, it’s not a terrible book at all, I just wasn’t overall thrilled with it. If it weren’t for Shepard’s writing style, it wouldn’t have been interesting at all. Most teen readers would probably be into it since the mystery story is pretty intriguing. I’m just not sure they’ll love it as much a PLL. I do, however, give Shepard massive props for starting a totally different project though. As she said in the acknowledgements, it is really hard to start a new series.
My rating: (3/5)

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